CRMs, or Customer Relationship Management tools, enable companies to gather, analyze and handle all interactions with past, current and future clients. As the name suggests, this is done to manage customer relationships, but CRMs also store client data, sales reports, and help log the status of projects and deliverables in one common place.

Most often used by large companies, more and more start-ups and small-scale businesses are now turning to CRMs to help with daily organization and to stay up-to-date on the needs of their customers. Gone are the days of written checklists and folders of Excel sheets. CRM users curate this information into one account shared by all employees who have access to it.

Why is this so important?
CRMs start right from the beginning of a relationship, the lead, and continue to follow the relationship throughout every point of contact, decision made and deliverable received. In many CRM systems, once the name of a potential client is entered into the database, the software will actually remind you to reach out to that lead and help push the new client through each part of your sales process, keeping track of what has been discussed along the way. This can help your company better understand each client and their habits, and gives you something to look back on when deciding how to re-approach, or approach similar leads in the future.

How do I get started?
There are a number of good CRM systems out there, with varying degrees of assistance. Some of the most popular include HubSpot, Insightly, Salesforce and Zoho, but a simple Google search will bring up a number of other options. HubSpot is free and claims it will be free forever, which may be surprising given it has many of the same features as the Lighting Professional package from Salesforce, which is the most expensive software of the bunch. Zoho and Insightly both have comparable pricing, but Insightly does offer a free version with basic functions.

If you find you’re losing track of customer documents or are looking for a new way to help grow your client base, then getting started with the CRM package that makes sense for you is definitely a step in the right direction. Already using a CRM? Let us know how it’s worked for your business!